Critters, large and small

Clearly, one of the most interesting things about living in Costa Rica was the wildlife.  Do YOU have monkeys coming right up close to your back porch?  Toucans and laughing falcons in your trees?

Morning visitors

We were amazed, astounded, and just plain delighted with those wondrous creatures that were part of our world while we lived in San Ramon. Heck, who wouldn’t be?!?

Colorful visitor

It’s one of the things we most feared about returning to the U.S. — returning to live in a more “suburban” setting — so I’m pleased to say that we’ve had some interesting wildlife even here.  No, no monkeys for sure, and no toucans either.  I will always miss those.

But we DO have interesting birds, including a host of the majestic (I’m sorry, there’s just no other word) bald eagle and a whole bunch o’ hummingbirds that have, luckily, found and welcomed our feeder.

One of our many hummingbirds

(There’s a funny story there — we’d assumed we would “hang” our feeder, just as we had in Costa Rica, so once the weather warmed up we filled it with “nectar” and took it out onto our deck to ponder where and how we might hang it.  No good ideas came to us, so we ended up setting it on the deck railing while we went inside, and before long we looked out to find the hummingbirds happily eating out of the feeder, sitting right there on the deck railing.

Another of our hummingbird friends

Since it was right smack-dab in front of our sliding glass door, the visibility couldn’t be better, so we ended up putting a couple of nails in the railing to keep it from tumbling overboard, and have been blessed with constant hummingbirds since then.

Lately we’ve had four and even five at a time, and although they don’t seem at all shy about your standing right near them, they do seem camera shy.  It seems as soon as I sit down in the doorway, hoping to catch the whole batch of them at once, they choose that moment to only come one at a time.  As soon as I put the camera away, even if I’m still sitting there, they come back in droves.  Go figure.

Bison grazing

While the hummingbirds might be some of the smallest of the critters we get to enjoy here, yesterday we spent the day with some of the largest — buffalo! Or, more accurately, bison. Hundreds of them live on Antelope Island (yes, which also has antelope, but they’re much harder to spot) and the peaks of Antelope Island are what we see most prominently when we look out to the west from our house.

Herd of bison grazing

So yesterday we met up with Chris and Louise and made the short drive north to the park entrance.  A long causeway carries you across the placid blue waters of the Great Salt Lake and there’s a great new visitors’ center loaded with interesting facts and photos about the island’s history. It seemed only fitting to have buffalo burgers for lunch before taking a leisurely drive around to see herds grazing all around the island.

By all accounts there’s some pretty spectacular birding there, so we’ll probably head up there early some morning, or possibly even go sometime to camp overnight. (Louise swears she’s not a camper, but I think we could work it out!) There are certain times of the year where the island swarms with little gnat-like bugs that don’t bite but can drive you crazy. We were lucky yesterday that this is apparently NOT the time of year for that. Definitely would need to find out more about that before making any camping plans!

Deer in the 'hood

And lastly, for some “in-between” size critters that we’ve been enjoying seeing here, we have deer all around us.  Several mornings David has taken the dogs out first thing, only to find a couple of deer munching away on the apples that have fallen to the ground.  Then the other day I glanced out the window just in time to see two deer just meandering up our street.  A recent trip to a nearby neighborhood brought the delight of a deer just hanging out in someone’s front yard.  I know that in many places the deer have actually become a nuisance, but we’re still finding deer that close to be charming.

So, while we’ll continue to miss the more exotic critters that shared our lives during our years in Costa Rica, we’re finding plenty here to keep us entertained.  And stay tuned, I’m still trying for that photograph of all five hummingbirds!

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2 Responses to Critters, large and small

  1. Danielle says:

    Beautiful birds , beautiful sunrise , beautiful sunsets .
    I have seen macaws , toucans , egrets , cardinals , woodpeckers etc etc
    Right in Miami. Plenty of wildlife. Enjoy.

    • arden says:

      Yeah, Danielle, you’ve actually probably got much more “tropical” stuff right there in south Florida, for sure. Things are less “exotic” here in some ways, but still wonderful since they’re all new to us! Great to hear from you and hope all is well there.
      big hugs,

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